THE MUMMY REBIRTH ** U.S.A. 2019 Dir: Khu, Justin Price 80 mins
The Mummy Rebirth follows two treasure hunters, Noe (played by Carter) and Daniella (Brittany Goodwin), who inadvertently awaken a cursed mummy with the power to bring about the end of the world. The film opens in ancient Egypt with a conversation between Sebek (Shamel Hashish) and Reheema (Taylor Carter), who have been together through many lifetimes and are about to meet their end in this one. Before they are cornered and killed by a group of masked men, Sebek vows rebirth and revenge on this world when he returns.
Cut to modern day where Noe and Daniela are introduced mid-shootout in an Egyptian cave while employed by wealthy treasure hunter, Sager (David E. Cazares), to find a lost city. Instead, they uncover Sebek’s tomb along with a sacred stone which bridges the gap between this world and the next. A simple incantation awakens the rotting, vengeful Sebek, who, along with a collection of mythological monsters, repeatedly attacks the two heroes. It’s up to Noe and Daniela to gain possession of the stone and stop Sebek from initiating Armageddon.
If this movie sounds familiar, that’s because it closely resembles Stephen Sommers’ 1999 remake of The Mummy. Everything from the costumes to the mummy’s motivations to Carter and Goodwin’s physical resemblance of Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz’s Rick and Evy calls back to this popular mummy movie. Also like Sommers’ Mummy, it’s more action than horror, though the mummy makeup and movements are delightfully classic Karloff. Also, the maze-like settings, from the caves to the museum and sand dunes, provide authentic-looking and tension-raising surroundings in which to set the shootouts and monster attacks.
But with its running time at barely over an hour (not including the opening and closing credits), the story teeters between slow-paced, confusing exposition and abundant but sometimes absurd action sequences (there’s an unnecessary barrel roll from Noe that made me laugh out loud). Carter and Goodwin’s performances start out strong with lively banter during the opening gunfight only to waver as the action picks up. The two appear relatively unfazed by both the mortal and supernatural peril in which they find themselves from scene-to-scene. Also, too much screen time is given to Sager, who really has nothing to offer the story besides the typical corrupt rich guy trope.
The cliffhanger ending involves a Godzilla-like CGI monster that takes over for the title character. Daniela then sets in motion an unexplained plan just before the credits roll. Her actions tease less of a sequel and more of a continuation of this story which feels like half a movie when all is said and done and one that bites off more than it can chew by trying to replicate its big budget inspirations rather than create a clear and original tale on its limited scale.
Review by Laura Smith